From Marcus Sakey, "a modern master of suspense" (Chicago Sun-Times) and "one of our best storytellers" (Michael Connelly), comes an adventure that’s at once breakneck thriller and shrewd social commentary; a gripping tale of a world fundamentally different and yet horrifyingly similar to our own, where being born gifted can be a terrible curse.
©2013 Marcus Sakey (P)2013 Brilliance Audio
Don't ask me why I hung on for so long. It took me until part 2 to even care what happened. Even then though, I just wanted to know what was going to happen because I had already invested so much time. Once I got to part 3 I was finally hooked. I needed to know what happened by then.
I wouldn't say the overall story was disappointing. It just took me a long time to get attached to the character. I guess I wanted more insight into who Nick Cooper really is.
It's hard to tell if it was the performance or the writing that was subpar. There were times that I couldn't tell what was actually happening and what was in Nick's head. I'm sure if I were reading it, it would be easier to make the distinction. So I guess I'd say the performance was a little dull.
I was satisfied with the ending so I wouldn't say that it wasn't worth my time to listen. But knowing what I know now I wouldn't waste a credit on it. I would wait for it to go on sale...maybe.
I know there is a sequel and I would like to know what happens but after my experience with this book I'm not sure if I'll make it a priority any time soon. It'll stay at the bottom of my list for now.
Science writer in America's heartland
It's my understanding that this book may be made into a movie. If so, it won't require much editing to turn it from a book into a script. The plot is predictable, as some other reviewers have said, but if it came out as an action movie, I would definitely go see it.
Obsessive book hoarder, and intense audible lover.
Probably not, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it the first time around.
Not especially. I do love easy listeners once and a while but too much in one sitting and I find myself rolling my eyes and becoming irritated during certain trite instances.
I purchased this book during the daily deal special, where they brought them all back at the sale price. I did enjoy it. But not once did I feel the desire to see if there was a sequel. It was easy going in the sense that it was a rhythm I'm familiar with. Where characters predictably make right/wrong choices and the bad guys could be seen a mile away. I'm not saying don't listen to it, just be aware that you will know what's coming and the end is very predictable.
I have to write 15 words here but I can't think of an answer that isn't insulting to people who like this. But I've filled the 15 words now. So that's a good.
The protagonist's inability to think anything through and the lack of exploration of the sci fi concept the book introduces.
This is how the main character thinks things through: "Someone I love is potentially under threat? OK, I'm going to make that threat harder to deal with and ignore every warning sign I see. But it's because I feel really strong about this, so I don't have to think."
This problem is compounded by the fact the character is meant to be good at analysing characters and their future actions. That's his sci fi super power - predicting the future. The author had an out where initially it's just in specific situations but instead of using that to maybe say there were downsides to these skills/powers because you became too reliant on them, thus explaining his incredibly short term view of the world, the book stresses both that he can't turn the power off and then uses his power to figure it all out.
So he can't turn the power off, even, and he's only been given one small extra piece of information. And he figures out something he could have figured out if he'd ever simply considered a posibility. And his power is always on. So, in over a decade, and especially in the last ~4 years when he knew he had a bigger stake in the issue than just himself, he never with his unable to turn off power ever had a bit of a think.
He was also kind of a moral vacuum, even after his realisation of what was going on, still expressing a strong willingness to sacrifice millions for a small reprive for his family.
The other disappointment was the lack of exploration of the sci fi concept - that instead of idiot savants a bunch of regular savants are born. A fun concept. The further things we learn as the book develops - sometimes really strong savants can't function 'cause of a kind of sensory overload and none of the savants can turn their ability off. That's it. No other pitfalls. No unexpected applications of the abilities. Each ability is introduced early on, is quite simple and doesn't change.
At first I thought he was a bit cheesey sounding but that's just the American announcer voice that male American narrators seem to have. I got into it. He did voices for each character and really had a go.
Is it just me or is this a ridiculous question? But I have to get my 15 words in.Cutting Jar Jar Binks wouldn't have fixed the structural problems and characters in The Phantom Menace. Cutting any one character from this book wouldn't fix the problems with it.
This book had potential but it was squandered by making the main character a bit dim (while claiming he was a genius). For the first half of the book I was genuinely hoping the predictable thing wouldn't happen and instead he'd die and another character would take the lead. That hope was squashed the further I read and the predictable happened.
I hope, for the author's sake, he makes the character a bit brighter or better yet just follow a different person in the same world and has something up his sleeve for the abilities to develop for the sequel.
I won't be reading it, but I hope he does.It really is a fun concept. If you're the kind of person who can genuinely turn their brain off while reading this stuff probably wouldn't bother you.
This book...what can I say? It blew my mind! The story is so rich and detailed. I loved the idea of a world where more and more humans were born with special talents which made them brilliants, and how a whole web of terrorism and conspiracies was built around it. This book definitely kept me on an edge. But my absolute favourite thing was the talents themselves. They were so cool, and not at all ordinary. I mean, they weren’t superhero type of powers, but rather normal abilities enhanced, and I treasured how the world improved because of them.
Another great feature of this book where its characters. They all had their own unique personalities and it was cool to see them blend together. Some of them are really unexpected, in a way you couldn’t predict.
I adored the relationship Cooper had with his ex wife and kids, and his ability to work as a team. I loved his team mate Bobby, and the easy way Nick and Shannon's conversation flowed.
Every piece of information would come back later on as a relevant clue to the puzzle. Sometimes it seemed that too much unnecessary information was given, but in the end every piece fits perfectly and you realize why they were put there to begin with.
It did appear to me that maybe too many details were added and as an Audiobook sometimes they were hard to follow. They contributed to the sense of what Cooper was seeing, which added some effect of what his power would feel like, but I did get lost in the details. Maybe it’s because I listened to it when commuting, so I could only listen to like 10 minutes at a time, but once you reach part 2 you are already too invested in this story to care.
In sum, this book is thrilling, enticing and will definitely want you leaving more.
Regarding the narration, it’s safe to say that Luke Daniels is THE BEST narrator I’ve heard so far. He definitely added something extra to the already great story; he gave it a black & white old detective movie kind of vibe, even if the book is not much of a mystery; which made it much easier to get into this book and get enthralled by it. I’m definitely going to get the second book in the series as an Audiobook just for the pleasure of hearing him. His voice is so versatile and masculine; but the best part is not even that.
They were so many characters and he managed to give each one of them a distinct voice you could recognize the character in a second when they spoke. He even had a different voice for the narrator. Of course, about the 15th character appearance, voices started to sound alike, but that is kind of inevitable. I’m always so sceptic on male narrators doing female voices, because they tend to make them sound like drag queens, no disrespect intended. But Luke totally nailed Shannon. She felt like a whole woman to me, at least. Overall, Luke’s technique is impeccable! You should definitely watch out for more of his work.
This is a pretty interesting take on the CIA thriller type novel. I can definitely see where governments would attempt to harness the potential of a new evolution of human. People do fear what they don't understand and other people do use that to their advantage. The story is current and the narrator, Luke Daniels, is well suited to this genre. Sprinkle a little bit of sci fi into a Vince Flynn novel and this is what you get. I enjoyed it and would listen to a second novel.
This was a good story and a good read. I would have liked to give it four stars.
But the author doesn't trust the reader to get the point. He hits the reader over the head with it, over and over again. It's like the Holocaust (boink!). It's like making the Jews wear a yellow star (boink!). It's like the WWII Japanese internment camps (boink!). It's like racism (boink!). It's like homophobia (boink!). And then I read an article he wrote and he also says it's about autism.
By doing this, he disrespects the reader and adds a falseness to the story. He's not black. He's not gay. He's not Japanese. He's not autistic. (I don't know if he's Jewish, but even if he is, he grew up in America and never had to wear a yellow star!)
It's always risky to tell a story not your own. But, hey, that's what fiction is. But then just tell the story and trust the reader to make her or his own connections and comparisons.
The narrator was okay, but not my favorite. He only had one alternate voice other than Cooper's and it was rather annoying.
I don't like making comparison between books. However, I couldn't help but think of X-Men through most of the first half of this book. The Brilliants/abnorms are like the mutants; they were born with amazing gifts like an idiot savant but without the mental handicap. A man sensing patterns in the stock market makes billions, a little girl can read body language and know when someone is lying, and a woman can see the vectors of where people are looking and walking so she can walk through crowds without being noticed. The normal people fear that the abnorms will gain power over the normals. There are people on both sides stirring up talks about a war. If you're not familiar with the X-Men, then it won't be a distraction. Other than that, it's a terrific book - full of suspense, twists, and turns.
Once I started listening, I couldn't stop - totally pulled me into the story. I can see this book being made into a movie! The narrator spoke a little too fast at times, but otherwise was fine. Totally enjoyed listening to this one!
It was difficult to get into but then it held my attention, I love it.
"Great book that draws you in"
I would recommend this audiobook, it's a well constructed world that gives a new take on ordinary superpowers, it builds a vivid picture of society slowly collapsing in on itself. With twists and turns abound I was hooked and had to stay in the car just to listen a little longer!
Roll on book 2!
"A really enjoyable read."
Exciting, engrossing, enjoyable!
The plot and the characters. Pace.
Well read, good characterisation of the different characters.
It was a really exciting book, great plot, good idea, and read and written at a good pace. The concept is believable, and is presented in a good manner.
I would recommend this book. Would love a sequel.
"Interesting premise, could be developed further"
Action sci-fi thriller which wants to be a Hollywood movie. Interesting premise - from 1981 on, 1% of children are born with special powers. Not really super-powers like flying, bending spoons, but with extreme pattern recognitions and similar. They are known as "Brilliants" and as they grow up, they start changing the world. American society is polarised and split into normals and "abnorms".
Story will probably evolve into followups - in this one, we follow Agent Cooper fighting against "abnorm terrorists" (being abnorm himself). Story is interesting and tense, with some unexpected but also some very expected twists. However, I think author did not manage to use idea's full potential. Action sequences are interesting and characters well built, but as I see it, story is basically taken from Al-Qaida attack on WTC and then continued on basis of many conspiracy theories evolving after.
Besides that, I would have liked to hear more about the impact on the world - authors focuses on America, and rarely spreads focus out of his main characters.
This book dives headlong into a very fast paced story with lots of suspense, thrills and action. I like Nick Cooper's character and the way he develops throughout the story, the conflict he feels because he himself is a brilliant yet his job is to pursue them. And then everything is turned completely upside down and Nick doesn't know truth from lies or who he can trust. A gripping plot, which is also very thought provoking, and a nail biting conclusion, along with a first rate narrator. Really glad there will be more!
"Good story, great narrator"
Some great ideas in the story, which was recommended to me. the best performance of any narrator I've heard to date
Ok story , happy with the narrator. Because of the special powers people had I felt that they were adapted to the story as it went along. Predictable because using his children's safety against him, falling for the girl, his boss.not being the person he thought he was.... not much originality.
"The X-Man in the High Castle"
Much better than a comic book, here we have a parallel world – set in present day but where history took a different turn back in the 1980’s. The different turn was the result of “Brilliants” starting to be born. These are children with exceptional abilities, such as a massively enhanced ability to read people’s body language. I found this level of talent weirdly credible, unlike the silliness of X-Men or superheroes. The book is written and read with pace, reminiscent of books by Matthew Reilly. All in all, I was very happy to swept along by an excellent audio-equivalent of a great page-turner. Great fun and I look forward to listening to the others in the series.
"Very thoroughly enjoyable sci-fi"
I can put this book down so to speak I do listening to it in the car at the office before bedtime is outstanding very futuristic very creative!
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